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304th Civil Affairs leaves big shoes behind


Release Date: 3/11/2004

Story and photo by Cpl. Todd Pruden, 372nd MPAD

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (March 11, 2004) - Even to the untrained eye, tracks left by the 304th Civil Affairs (CA) Brigade are easy to follow. Footprints of the unit's efforts can easily be traced across the globe, but its shoes will be hard to fill.

Since being mobilized from Philadelphia in march 2003, members of the 304th Civil Affairs Brigade have led and supported missions in various places throughout the world. While the majority of their activities were centered in Iraq and Kuwait, supporting the 1st Marine Division and the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, small detachments traveled to the countries of Germany, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey.

"You have all accomplished tremendous things," Brigade Commander Col. William Beard from Palm Beach, Fla., said at a recent awards ceremony. "As individuals and as a unit you have been out there getting things done."

Lt. Col. Nicholas Roper from Woodbridge, Va., commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 304th CA Brigade. The battalion performed more than 500 missions in support of the 800th Military Police Brigade, helping to reorganize government and services in war-torn regions of Iraq. They performed humanitarian aid, assisted in the reformation of town councils and public services and mentored, equipped and trained police forces.

Beard explained that hardships endured by unit members during the past year have made every individual a seasoned Soldier, deserving of a proper homecoming.

"It's not how you start the race, it's how you finish," Beard said. "We left as a unit and we are returning as a unit, with all the proper fanfare."

Beard stressed that as seasoned Soldiers each unit member is a valuable asset, with skills and experiences that must be passed on through the training of younger troops.

Though every Solider played an integral part in the unit's success, some were recognized for individual accomplishments. In all, one Purple Heart, 37 Bronze

Stars for merit and 59 Army Commendation Medals were awarded.

Pride should be the common dominator of what all 304th Soldiers take home, said Brig. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, Deputy Commander of the 377th Theater Support Command, after the recent awards ceremony.

"I'd be glad to go to war with you anytime," Stultz said.

Because the missions of the 304th CA Brigade were many and diverse, leaving tracks of accomplishments that are easily followed, the big shoes they leave behind will certainly be hard to fill.

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